Male inmates started moving into a women’s prison in Chowchilla Thursday.
The state is converting the Valley State Prison into a male facility to ease overcrowding in other prisons.
Men arriving at the prison are low-level offenders, but there's a concern that the switch will attract crime.
“It's a different demographic of people that come to the area when there's a men's versus women's,” said Chowchilla Resident Rosina Hurtado.
Police Chief Jay Varney says troubled families will move with men and drain resources.
He's even applied for an anti-gang grant to deal with potential fallout.
“That'd be about 2500 men…about 50 families...well if 50 new families moved here...using more services...that's going to put a strain police, schools, social services things like that,” said Chief Varney.
The California Department of Corrections believes the impact would be insignificant.
“In recent studies conducted in visiting institutions, ca prisons showed less than 2 percent statewide have families moving to where an inmate was being housed,” said CDRC Spokeswoman Dana Simas.
Simas also says there are fewer women inmates under realignment, so the women's prison would've otherwise been closed altogether.
The city recently filed an injunction to halt the conversion, but the judge let the state move forward with it.
Madera County Supervisor David Rodgers isn't backing down.
“If we have impacts, I’m going straight to our legislators... and then our governor,” said Rodgers.
Women will stay in separate yards for a few more months, before being transferred to other women's prisons in California.